On April 16, 2018, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed an amended version of 2017 Assembly Bill 748, thereby declaring a number of employment issues to be matters of statewide concern and therefore beyond the scope of municipal regulation. Although the bill originally included a provision that would have prohibited local regulation of employment discrimination, that provision was removed by an amendment. As such, municipalities remain free to enact and enforce equal employment opportunity ordinances at the local level like the Madison Equal Opportunities Ordinance and the De Pere Non-Discrimination in Housing, Public Accommodation and Employment Ordinance, both of which remain in effect.

Nevertheless, the law as enacted is still significant as it prohibits local regulation regarding the following:

  • Labor peace agreements (codified in newly-created Wisconsin Statutes (Wis. Stat.) section 66.0134)
  • Occupational licensing requirements more stringent than those imposed by the department of state government that regulates the profession (codified in newly-created Wis. Stat. section 66.0408(2)(d))
  • Employee hour and overtime requirements (codified in newly-created Wisconsin Stat. section 103.007)
  • The terms and conditions of employment benefits, including minimum levels of benefits (codified in newly-created Wis. Stat. section 103.12)
  • The right to solicit salary history information from prospective employees (codified in newly-created Wis. Stat. section 103.36)
  • Wage claims and collections (codified at newly-created Wis. Stat. section 109.09(3))

Effective April 18, 2018, existing local ordinances regulating the foregoing are unenforceable and future local ordinances in those areas are prohibited. This is likely good news for employers concerned with the growing trend of patchwork regulations regarding employment issues.

Although a modified version of the preemption bill became law, the bill to exempt employers covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act from certain provisions of the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act failed to pass.